Along the way Bob Garfield asked how Internet news will be financed, "Is advertising going to be the means of financing news content in the, you know, even intermediate future?" Tom Rosenstiel's reply was "There's no question that advertising in totality will not be enough."
Everyone may be surprised. One day advertisers may find that as ad-blocking software spreads, no one is even seeing their ads.
Users of Firefox have a free ad-blocking add-in, and there are commercial programs available which, fortunately for on-line news sites, are not yet well known. Geeks have even more options. Our local paper recently converted to Gannett's new on-line template and guess what--I see no ads at all with the new arrangement.
All it will take is for some opportunistic publicity and a fad for ad-blocking software may catch on like wildfire, just as pop-up blocking software has become commonplace.
Predictably, websites will develop new technology to defeat ad-blockers (some is already out there), and predictably, ad-blockers will counter by becoming better at what they do.
So standby world, newspapers may have to go back to paper if they are to stay in business at all.
The real problem is that newspapers thought they were in a monopoly for advertisers, so they kept hiking and hiking the ad rates, since there was no alternative.
Once you get used to that, as an owner or ad salesperson, you lose your imagination and energy. If the staff had kept their eyes open, they could have blunted the force of craigslist in 1999.
A hanging focuses the mind. They need to focuse very hard on what is news, be willing to ignore certain audiences, and go ever deeper into the content they do cover.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
On The Media is funded, in part, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
the Overbrook Foundation and the Jane Marcher Foundation.